Tag Archives: pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Foodie Field Trip

15 May
A few months ago a friend of mine took me around Pittsburgh’s Strip District, and a bit of Oakland. The result: I have new staples to my diet and I’ve got new places to shop.
In the Strip District, we visited Lotus Food Co., a Chinese grocery store. It was awesome, and cheap. And they had loads of gluten-free stuff that my sister would adore. The sauces there were much cheaper than in regular grocery stores. I got a basket full of what I thought would come to about fifty dollars. It came to twenty-two big ones :D. While there I bought udon noodles, a special soy-based sauce to cook the udon in, ube powder(a purple sweet potato powder), seaweed, and dorayaki (basically a small pancake filled with red bean paste= really, really good.)
My family totally loved the udon noodles and tempura (just dip fresh veggies in a flour/water batter and fry). New staple. Tryyy it.
Also visited the PA Macaroni Co. for pasta and bread, and Wholey’s for fish.
After we had bubble tea at LuLu’s Noodles in Oakland (bubble tea was also new to me, and is awesome), and then had a feast 🙂
Pictures!
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Game Day Food!

7 Feb
Today is the Superbowl!! Being from the ‘Burgh, obviously I am rooting for the Steelers. Regardless of who you are rooting for, or even what sport you watch, there is usually game day food.
Chips, dips, pop, jalapeño poppers, chili, burgers, hot dogs, veggie trays, and tacos. To name a few. Today, my plan is reubens for the first two quarters, and sautéed shrimp for the second two.
Reubens are something relatively new to me, and I only recently started making them at home. But I’ve grown used to my process, and these sandwiches have become such a go-to meal at home that I thought I’d share it with you.
The essentials: rye bread (I use Pepperidge Farm’s seedless rye), sauerkraut (I prefer Bavarian sweet), thousand island dressing, swiss cheese and corned beef.
Ask your deli for the corned beef, and ask them to slice it very thin.
I use the griddle for mine, but you can use two skillets if you’d like.

Makes 2 reubens.

1) Spray one of the skillets with some non-stick spray. Drain the can of sauerkraut. Spread a bit more than half of the can as thinly as possible into the pan, and cook on medium/low heat. Use a spatula to flip/stir until it is throughly heated.
2) Butter one side of two slices of bread. Put them in the other skillet (at medium heat), butter side down. Put a slice of swiss cheese on top of each slice.
3) When the cheese starts to melt,  squirt some thousand island dressing on top of the cheese. Then put the sauerkraut on top of the dressing (spread over the whole piece of bread).
4) Next put a few slices of corned beef on top of the sauerkraut. Depends on how much meat you want, but I tend to only put two slices on.
5) Place one more slice of swiss cheese on top of the meat.
6) Butter one side of two more slices of bread. Place them on top of the sandwiches, butter side up.
7) Using a fork and a spatula, flip the whole sandwich to toast the other side. This is messy and hilarious. Be careful.
8 ) Toast for about 5-7 more minutes, and then cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
For reference, here’s how the layers “should” go on the sandwich: Bread, cheese, thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, corned beef, cheese, bread.

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After making these a few times, I discovered that I prefer yellow american cheese on my reuben. But my picky eater still prefers the swiss. And I prefer to “brown” my sauerkraut just a bit. So once you get the process down, experiment some. Reubens are really surprisingly good when made at home.

My Ultimate Comfort Food

27 Jan
It’s winter time. It is bitter cold, windy, icy, gray, and miserable outside. Not to mention that this semester has been really difficult for me. I’m feeling comfort food.
My favorites are grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, and chili. My Dad only makes two meals. Pasta or chili. His chili is phenomenal. It only took a few months after I left home to call him and beg him for his spicy yet sweet recipe. Not surprisingly, his recipe was, “throw in this, that, and a stick of butter.”
Everyone has their own way of making chili. Mine is to throw the canned goods into the pot on med-low heat, chop up the veggies, throw them in, and brown the meat and toss it in.
Theres not exact measurements, because I guess and check like my Dad does. But here’s a list of ingredients for chili, Pittsburgh style 😀
-Green peppers, banana peppers, small sliced mushrooms, a sweet onion
-a HUGE can of kidney beans and a small can of black beans
-canned, undrained: whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste (splurge on the good stuff, not the generic. its worth it.)
-ground turkey meat (about a poundish?)
-at least two tablespoons of white sugar
-half a stick of butter. real unsalted butter, not margarine.
-about a half cup of water
and that’s about it. toss it in a big pot together, let it cook on med-low for about 3 hours. Stir it a lot, because it will burn if you don’t.
Every time I eat a bowl of this it reminds me of when I was younger- when snow was magical and not ominous,  when Dad would blast hippie records on his record player, and when I didn’t have pounds of homework every night.
Are there any dishes you gravitate towards in the winter? Any family recipes you would love to perfect?

Turn on some tunes for better food

21 Jan
When I was in high school, I had this amazing art teacher.  Ms. D  is creative, strong, passionate, and insightful. During the hours that I spent in her classroom, we listened to all sorts of music while we drew/painted/sculpted/whatever she felt like doing. She said that different music helps you settle into different creative “tones.”
I don’t have much time to draw anymore, but I do cook. Cooking is pretty much where all of my creative energy goes. And I’ve found that Ms. D’s theory about music and creative expression applies to the kitchen as well. When I’m baking and getting flour all over the place, I tend to listen to The Beatles, or some other dance around sing at the top of my lungs music. When I make lasagna or something a bit less precise, I tend to listen to classical music (pandora.com is great for this!). Some how, when I listen to music, my meals turn out better tasting. And it doesn’t hurt to actually enjoy cooking dinner for your family. Music makes my cooking experience more fun and meaningful. And if you mess something up, or cover your black cat in flour, music makes everything a bit more lighthearted ;).
My black kitty 😀
I was wondering if anyone else does the same thing? Listen to music while cooking, not specifically The Beatles or classical. If you don’t, try it out.
On a different note, today I went out and got some Chinese food (at the Sesame Inn, if you’re from Pittsburgh). I keep promising myself that I will be adventurous and order something like duck or at least some scallops. But I reverted to chicken. It was fantastic. And when they gave me my plate, it had this baby on it:

Radish Flower

Isnt that awesome? Its made of a fresh (not dried) radish, dyed pink and wrapped/folded, kept in place with toothpicks. It comes on all of their dinner plates.
So go get yourself a radish flower, and turn on some tunes. 😀