Wednesday, April 28, 2010

pizza, deliciously from 2D to 3D

Honestly, I'm not the type to go gaga over a gimmick. Yet, if the proclaimed food fab seems almost too fun to deny (and tasty, too), I may become a little gushy in craving the chance to experience this new edible pleasure.

On a recent trip to New York City this past weekend, my lady friends and I had to try coned-shaped pizza. Isn't everything better in a cone, anyway? I mean, ice cream is always addicting, as are those pumped with fluffy cake and prettily sprinkled with jimmies, but a cone plump with gooey fresh mozzarella and basil-spiked tomato sauce? The idea is too good to ignore!

There is only one location on the East Coast that spouts pizza in a perfect 3D triangular shape. The Midtown Manhattan locale is narrow and radiant, and maintained by the friendliest group of folks that are overwhelmingly nice in the comfiest of ways.

Their handheld, on-the-go novelty is available in small and large sizes, offered with either pesto or tomato sauce, and packed with as many ingredients as you desire. From selections like bbq chicken, prosciutto, spicy salami, jalapenos, scrambled egg, green peppers, mushrooms, plus many more, the cone crafters pop your taste array inside the parbaked brims of the conical crust and load it into a specialty oven that takes about five minutes for completion.

Toasty and crunch-worthy, the K! cone is worth the slight wait, and my whirled fresh mozzarella packed inside the thick exterior, marveled amongst my tastebuds, hit the sultry spot dead-on as we soon embarked on the lively nightlife of NYC. 

It's important to confess that this obscure slice doesn't necessarily match the tastes of your most favorite pizzeria's pleasure, but it's still darn delicious. We asked what's the "K!" about prior to their exclaimed "Pizzacone," and they relayed that since the West Coast already nabbed the singular "pizzacone" name, this is how these pizza makers add pizazz to their only-spot-in-New-York stop.

If you're pleading for a legit slice of perfect Italian-styled pizza, skip along to the nearest authentic eatery. But, if you're jonesin' for an edible experience unlike any other, swing by K! Pizzacone for 3D at its best!

K! Pizzacone, 325 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (between 32nd and 33rd St.), 646-823-9318.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

cheese for me? yes, please!

In honor of her first-ever stink-a-versary on her satisfying-stenched cheese haven of a blog, Madame Fromage of Philadelphia invited cheesy fiends to participate in her lil' celebration. 

Of course, I could not stop myself from congratulating one of my most favored bloggers from reaching her one-year mark, and in honor of her celebratory festivities, she hosted another first-ever — a cheese giveaway! 

Tenaya, the lovely lady who originated the blog and also, shares an intense cheese love like myself, required participants to proclaim their most loved creamy pleasure, ever, and also, required that you'd suggest what cheese in the well-populated log of hers that you'd love to win.

I tapped away on my keypad that, as much of a hard decision it may be, I am entirely obsessed with Yellow Springs' Farm's Nutcracker Cheese, which is a delicious goat milk blend made of an exterior of black walnuts.

But, to choose a cheese she's reviewed? Now, that's an intense decision! I couldn't choose just one (sorry, Tenaya!) so, I blabbed that it would be incredible to chomp on hunks of either the Monte Cabra, a Spanish goat cheese with a charcoal black butter exterior, or the Prima Donna, which she detailed as a "salted caramel."

AND, (drum roll, please) I WON! 

After much thought, I decided that I'd opt for the choice of the Prima Donna, but that doesn't mean I don't plan on trying the Monte Cabra very, very soon. It arrived speedily too, in the mail on Friday. Although we had planned to meet around Fishtown's parts, everyone's lives are chaotic, and appreciated her sending me the gorgeous hunks that'll are now my favored pleasures, via snail mail.

I also must mentioned that as much as I want to scream from the mountain tops and brag of my recent delicious prize, I do have to excitedly reveal that through the contest and cheese-love, I have also gained a new food-fiended friend. I anticipate meeting her soon for some fantastic forkfuls of cake, or of course, some milky marvels of newly experienced cheese.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

classic apple dumplings of a country-styled bakery

Being raised in the midst of Pennsylvania Dutch Country into two full-bred families, I've had my fair share of legitimate traditional sweet treats. While I could blab about the pie that is quite possibly, the sweetest of the bunchthe circles of shoo fly I value the baked balls of apples the most.

Apple dumplings are a staple in the Strauss house and something I have come to perfectly attempt, time and time again. Honestly, I may not be a proclaimed professional just yet, but I can confess that my tastebuds have devoured toasty chomps from many experienced bakers, especially in the heartland of Lancaster County and also on its brims.

This evening after trekking through Emmaus, I spotted a petite bakeshop on its main street, one that easily peaked my sweet teeth. An Italian-styled bakery, I Love Louie's specializes in desserts similar to what grandmother would have sweetly prepared, as well as area-appropriate classics.

Of course, I couldn't step outside its sugary scented interior without picking up one of the prettiest apple dumplings. And, after indulging in its warmed cinnamon-sprinkled bites crusted in a buttery flake crust, I may love Louie, too.

I Love Louie's Bakery, 4033 Chestnut St., Emmaus, PA 610-965-2999

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a tribute to my treasured grandmother, dorothy kemp

After a long battle braving her elderly age, my dear grandmother said "so long" last Wednesday morning. A week has since passed, which possessed days of chaos as we whirled our emotions to honestly prepare ourselves to celebrate her life in two establishments events. 

I was approached with a request to present a speech of remembrance at her dear funeral service. Below, I share with you the words I so willingly spoke.

If you could bottle the satisfying smells of my grandmother and her forever remembered kitchen creations, you would be able to make a marvelous mint.

While my grandmother, who we all called Grammy, was blessed with a handful of talents that she graced all so extremely well, what many of us remember most was the accomplished efforts she made through her edible mixing, whisking, chopping, peeling and constructing.

Poised and proper, prim and perfect, Dorothy Kemp would constantly flood her Barto, Pennsylvania kitchen with the most appetizing of aromas, all while looking elegant and dashing, more than anyone could appear as they maintained their food preparation station.

We all, both my Uncle Ed and my mom Claudia, as well as us six grandchildren, benefited from her delicious efforts for our birthdays, as she always prepared the most gorgeous red velvet cakes, both pleasing to the eyes and the stomachs.

She'd begin such celebrations with hearty bowls of her ideally savory-and-salty beef vegetable soup, where she always made sure my cousin Pam and I were able to slurp our spoonfuls with her provided pink spoons.

There are things I will never forget, as she shaped me into appreciating the world of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and her efforts toward her cooking craft shaped me to want to be that much more of a cook and a baker.

She canned, of course, and her basement shelves packed with jars of mustard beans, pickled beets, turnips and many other preserved vegetables grown impressively in her backyard, will forever be housed in my brain in the most vivid of memories.

When she'd would be left to feed my brothers and I, even days where she popped open a box of macaroni and cheese were that of the tastiest, and I have still to this day not been able to make boxed food as incredible as she had with her own personal touch.

One of the classiest of ladies I had ever met, Grammy assisted in my sculpting my feminine mystique as I have fond memories of her letting me borrow her string of pearls for my prom, and I wore them so confidently aside the petite black clutch she also allowed me to sport for my most prized night in high school.

As many of you know, and I'd be remiss if I did not mention it, she had a way with her two crocheting needles, swimming through suitcases of her stitched hats, scarfs, mittens and afghans. Following each grandchild's birth, she'd craft a distinct colored blanket for us all, and we now each proudly sleep cozily with them at night.

A grandmother is an incredible, gracious gift, and we could not be more honored have been blessed with Dorothy Kemp as our forever-remembered, always-loved Grammy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

scenes of saturday's sweet treats

Hope y'all were able to swing by the scrumptious setup of sweet treats seen yesterday in front of A Full Plate Cafe. If so, THANK YOU! Your generosity is greatly appreciated in assisting Share Our Strength!

food-fiend eagerly documents his year in eats

Quite honestly, I obsess over finding like-minded food fiends who share the same passions for all things edible and drinkable as intensely as I do. I almost become scream-from-the-mountaintop excited when they reveal their adoration for the same eateries and establishments that I must regularly revisit or I will become a ravenous, raged female.

Lucky for me and my food friend quests, I stumbled upon Joel Armato's food blog, Eat The Blog, on an evening last week, and soon sought to have his appetizing story heard.
Armato, as of January 1, 2010, challenged himself to photograph every single thing that he devoured for an entire year. Something that he wished he had done before, he began to document his eating feat via a blog, which is where Eat The Blog comes along.

His story doesn't end there, either. Working as a Beer Ambassador for New Holland Brewing Co., he travels up-and-down the East Coast spouting the grace of the artisan-crafted brews, as well as sampling the cuisine of as many neighborhood dining scenes as his lil' heart encounters and desires.

I scribed a full-fledged feature on this fine bearded eater this weekend, which can be viewed here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

support saturday's national bake sale at a full plate

This weekend a bunch of fabulous area food bloggers are banning together to host their gorgeous goodies in bake sale, all to benefit Share Our Strength.

It's Philly's first year participating with the Great American Bake Sale and we'll alluringly set up shop in front of A Full Plate Cafe on Liberties Walk in No'Libs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Appropriately, I will be vivaciously crafting whole grain apple pie pockets for the sale (similar to what you see below), some pumped with the deliciousness of toasted almonds and some without.
For an overview of what other online scribers are trotting, swing over to Foodaphilia's recent post.

Love to see y'all come out and support the lil' ones in need of good-for-you foods! Those who can't make it, but would love to donate, may visit here.

A Full Plate, 1009 N. Bodine St., Philadelphia, PA 19123

Monday, April 12, 2010

honey chevre spread of shellbark hollow farm

Donna Demchur Levitsky (seen above) of West Chester's Shellbark Hollow was sweetly manning her cheesy station this Saturday at Phoenixville's Farmers' Market. Having the pleasure to encounter her whole goat milk cheese blends, I was incredibly impressed with the idea of her honey chevre spread as she suggested it paired perfectly with Asian pears.

Promoting a wild assortment of spreadable cheese smears, in addition to gorgeously jarred marinated chevres, a glorified stop at these freshly-aged, creamy offerings was undeniably a preview of what it could be like in my constant daydream of a cheese heaven.

Also to note, local chefs and mongers for the past several years have additionally spouted the brilliance of this locally-produced cheese, including Meritage, Nectar, Di Bruno Bros.

Above: I enjoyed the honey chevre generously-smeared on a slice of Saint Peter's Bakery's whole grain apple walnut bread.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

a woman worshipping the whisk

 (source) (girlscantell)
(source) (opart)
(source) (natalie dee)
(source) (the bumbling bird)
(my whisked foot) (my scratched hiking ankles)

I am, without a doubt, a woman who worships the whisk. I adore the simple kitchen companion in all its glory and grace. I gush over the ding-dings that the darling appliance applies to any given bowl. I relish in its round edges and revealed bends, and I probably quite frankly, seem batty having announced this to the Wide World Web.

In continuing this bodacious rant, it is appropriate that I also blab that I write a cooking column over at The Phoenix with Leann, and it is titled, Chicks with Whisks. This week I detail my current affair with coconut ice cream and also, suggest a health-conscious, mango-infused alternative to the typical high-calorie blends.

casual gourmet's gorgeous specialty sandwiches

In a hunger-crazed lunch hour, the upscale sandwich is a star. For Casual Gourmet of Limerick, their savant stage that is keen to crafting the tastiest handheld bites sings victory over all of the area's packed buns.

Since 1999, when Casual Gourmet was launched by Mary Klumpp, the pristine plates of slightly fancy midday meals marveled in the mouths of many locals. Klumpp, transforming a diffident deli to an epicurean eatery, was instantly popular.

Although through a tragic turn of events, in 2003 the proud owner was killed in an automobile accident, and her establishment was eventually purchased by the nearby owners of the Lakeside Inn. Triumphantly, earlier in 2006, a trio of female gourmands grasped the opportunity to gear the local cafe back to its original roots, praising Klumpp's past ways.

Joanne Hinmon, a proclaimed culinary connoisseur, worked closely with Casual Gourmet's original owner, and when given the opportunity to restore the casual eatery to its once hustle and bustle, requested the resources of Stephanie Montoya, a certified chef, and Renee Snow, an operator of a petite catering company, to form a tantalizing team.

Continue reading here.

Casual Gourmet, 475 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, 610-495-6626. Breakfast served, Mon.-Sun., 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; Lunch served, Mon.,-Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner served, Thurs.-Sat., 4:30-10:30 p.m., BYOB.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

berks county apple branches have begun to blossom

Berks County, Pennsylvania is the breeding ground for a delightful assortment of fresh-picked apples. Although I have months to impatiently wait for our local varieties, my nearby backwoods' branches have begun to bare the blossoms that hint to toward one of my most favored treasures. Here's my peek!

a crush-worthy handcrafted cookie company

In a sea of sugary boutiques boasting on mini-cakes with crowned tops, it is an obsessive sweet tooth's relief when something fresh falls into the dessert-drenched mix. Better yet, what plops the genuine icing on any crave-worthy cake is the availability of the notable treats in proximity to you.

Working just around the boutique bend from Handcrafted Cookie Company is a situation that should victoriously receive two gold stars. One, being that they celebrate the blessed cookie and two, being that it takes me less than a minute to trot to their only location.

Let me digress momentarily, you see, I do adore the cupcake. Even those who say they are sick of them, honestly are not. But, when you reminisce to your childhood years and your time spent baking with your dearly grandma, are you contemplating the notorious papered-stump? NO!

Chad and Theresa Williams, the darling duo behind the all-natural baking company, fulfill the need for sugary fiends breezing around Bridge Street to treat themselves to a health-conscious marveled mouthful.

Making use of original recipes that are free of hydrogenated oil and corn syrup, the couple crafts everything from classic chocolate chips to creative concoctions of lavender vanilla and chocolate hotties (fiery japs in rich cocoa). And with the mouthwatering blends too interesting to not continue, with raspberry mint and coconut sugar cookies, blueberry oatmeal, honey roasted nuts, chocolate mint and chocolate grapefruit, I may never stop gushing over the adventuresome appeal to these Main Street-made circles.

The Williams' are also currently hosting a community-search for recipes, asking anyone interested in participating to submit an original how-to and a sample for consideration to their baked shop. The contest concludes April 30 and the recipe best suited to taste will be featured June-August.

The Handcrafted Cookie Company is also as much of a cafe as a brick-bearing bake shop, selling organic bubble teas and milks, including soy, and also, an ever-changing choice of other sweet treats, including their baggies of brownie butts and their German chocolate cakies, as seen above.

Handcrafted Cookie Company, 24 S. Main St., Phoenixville, 484-921-4934

Monday, April 5, 2010

crafting celiac awareness through cupcakes + cocktails

For those of you who have never tried my baked goods, here's a lil' known fact: I obsess over the idea of sneaking my sweet treats with all things healthy, always keeping in mind I will not compromise any of my flaunt-worthy flavors for lesser-worthy ingredients. 

An adoring fan of vegan baking, one of my most prized baking books is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, finding never-ending inspiration from the green-goodness goddesses Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Luckily, Philadelphia has recently had an energetic emergence of vegan sweet treat boutiques, as well as those promoting limited diets like gluten-free and allergen-friendly, so it seems now everyone can have their cake and satisfyingly eat it, too!

Conveniently, last week at APO Bar + Lounge many of the area's niche bakers, including many newbies, gleefully gathered together to whirl awareness for celiac disease (those suggested for a gluten-free lifestyle). Inevitably so, the pinch-percent couture of their cupcakeries flooded the front space of the dimly lit bar, as the 13th Street locale offered pairings of sweetly swirled cocktails.

My cocktail choice? The Pear Bear, which as seen above, splashed pear vodka, orange bitters and sparkling wine amongst squeezes of fresh lime and squirts of agave nectar. Two petite glasses of this fruity freedom had me pleasantly giggly like a schoolgirl, but that could have also been posed from my multiple cupcake-infused coma.

The delicate bites of the lady-friendly affair were provided by the pretty participants of Sweet Freedom Bakery, A Cupcake Wonderland and Virago Baking Company, and I have to suggest that the gorgeous galore of mini-cakes paired with my tart punch crafted an enjoyable evening for all, limited-and-not-so-limited tastebuds included.

All proceeds benefited the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.