Cold Brewed Ginger-Turmeric Tea

It, er, tastes better than it looks.

It, er, tastes better than it looks.

A while ago, I came across this recipe for ginger-turmeric tea. As it was winter, it involved ginger and tumeric (spices I love), and was a recipe for a fancy-pants drink, I was immediately on board. While I did like it and basically drank it all winter, I was not happy with the fact that most of the powdered spices congealed into a gritty goo in the bottom of the mug. 

So, as I am wont to do, I decided to try cold brewing it. 

Dear Full Irish,

“Bless your little Irish heart
And every other Irish part.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, from Dear Food to your friends and family!

This morning, unlike any other morning of the year, I decided to go big. Instead of sulking over my more routine American breakfasts, this particular Irish holiday inspired me to own and wave the flag of all two-percent of my Irish heritage. That’s right, I whipped up a Full Irish Breakfast to treat the celebration!

Well, let me be fair: maybe not quite a spot-on Full Irish. The penniless college student is not far off from the penniless sitar player. I couldn’t quite get my hands on soda bread (then again, I suppose I could just as well have made it…shame on me), I’m not a big fan of breakfast sausages, and any evidence of potato is missing (Or is that just stereotyping?). -Most of all, I just wasn’t able to find black or white pudding anywhere on the shelves.

Darn.

Still, to the best of my abilities, I think my recreation was noble in gesture, no? Fried bread, egg, and bacon next to a general dollop of baked beans with sauteed tomatoes and mushrooms, and a mug if Irish breakfast tea to go with? If every there was a king in Ireland, I certainly felt like him!

                                   

The Full Irish breakfast is quite the tradition in its homeland, just as the Full English is to the east. Munching down, I wondered: what are some of your favorite regional dishes? From America? Another content? Comment below and fill us in on what you love! Hopefully sometime down the road I can share any of your same food loves on Dear Food.

And if you were wondering: yes, you’re darn right I finished every bite!

                           

– Rory

 

Mushroom Log: Supermarket ‘Shrooms

Criminis courtesy of Rebecca Siegel

Criminis courtesy of Rebecca Siegel

Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: Agaricus bisporus (and Agaricus hortensis)

Other names: button mushroom, white mushrooms, crimini (or cremini), portabella (or portobello, portabello, portobella), cultivated mushroom

Ever since I began my journey into the world of mushrooms, I’ve gotten a kick out of the mushroom section of grocery stores. There is some clever marketing going on in that section. You may have already guessed, but here’s the secret: most of those mushrooms are really the same kind.

Dear Cold Brewed Chocolate, You Are Like Hot Chocolate’s Older, More Sophisticated Sibling

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Many moons ago, I learned of cold brewed coffee, a wonderful concoction in which coffee is brewed in cold water over the course of 10 or 12 hours, when it was mentioned in Cory Doctorow’s fantastic novel Homeland. Of course, I immediately had to put the book down, grind up half a cup’s worth of coffee beans and immerse them in two cups of water. As these were the days I worked night shift, I brought my brew with me and downed the whole thing 10 hours later… which was approximately 12:00 at night.

Those who have drank undiluted cold brew know what’s coming next. Little did I know, cold brewed coffee is highly concentrated. I wound up drinking an entire pot’s worth of caffeine in those two cups and then wondered why I was shaking when I went home an hour later. I, uh, don’t always think things through.

Nonetheless, cold brewed coffee is delicious (in moderation)–it’s stronger and less acidic than its traditionally brewed counterpart. I can thank Cory Doctorow for teaching me about it, which is why, when he posted an article about cold brewed chocolate on his blog the other day, I knew I had to try it.

Dear Milan to Vienna

Where, you ask, will I find myself whisked off to in the course of a year? I’ll give you a clue:

Or:

Give up? Well, if you guessed a trek from Milan, Italy to Vienna, Austria, you’re absolutely right!

First off, I just want it known how thankful I am. Traveling is an opportunity that only appears so often, and it’s a true blessing and treat to adventure with esteemed professors and fellow courageous classmates. No one will find a luckier person in the world than myself.

It’s premature, so bear with me, but I am so jazzed about this trip that I want get started on some considerations now. For me, and for Dear Food, that means this:

– What are the foods in Italy, Germany, and Austria that I absolutely HAVE to try?
– What kinds of foods should I maybe stay away from?
– What are some places, specifically, you all can think of that I have to visit for their cuisine?
– Nightlife or daytime – which is best for the food scene?
– Any and all tips and tricks regarding food?

Again, trip doesn’t leave until May of 2016, but I want to spend the next year hopefully garnering some exciting opinions from all of our beloved readers. Comment on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the works!

Best,

Rory

Sourdough Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

A tasty-looking homemade pizza courtesy of Food Recipes (follow the link for an alternate pizza crust recipe!)

A tasty-looking homemade pizza courtesy of Food Recipes (follow the link for an alternate pizza crust recipe!)

I know, I know: pizza gets a terrible rap in America. It’s a big ol’ disk of greasy cheese and possibly a meat-like substance that your parents got when they didn’t want to cook dinner that night. Or what your high school or college got in order to lure unsuspecting students to an event. You can get good pizza, but it involves going to a restaurant somewhere and spending a bit more than you probably want because it’s a pizza for crying out loud  (this is not to say that pizza from fancy restaurants is not delicious–we just have a stigma). And don’t even get me started on the whole “artisanal” pizza thing.  

But I have seen the light.  Today, I am here today as a pizza-missionary, seeking to cure our starved pizza-culture. Believe it or not, you can make good pizza at home. I am by no means a pizza-expert–nay, merely an amateur–but I have learned this: it all starts with the crust. 

Dear National Meatball Day,

Meat. Balls. Balls of meat. Meatballs. Flickr/jeffreyw

Meat. Balls. Balls of meat. Meatballs. Flickr/jeffreyw

 Some may doubt that all these days in honor of food aren’t real holidays. I say, who cares? I say, there aren’t enough days to celebrate all the amazing foods that we have in the world. I stand firm before you, declaring my love for meatballs.


Honestly, the Italians nailed so many fantastical categories of foods that I’m not surprised that they invented the meatball (did they? I attribute it to them, regardless). Eat them simply, perfect bites of protein atop the best pastas or breads, dancing in a shower of cheese before you dig in.

Or chefs get creative and put them on pizza, stews, a sub, toothpicks for appetizers or anything. If meatballs are involved, I want in.

So even if you’re not eating meatballs today, take a moment to appreciate the brilliance of meatballs by looking at each of these pictures and recipes:

10 Old School Italian Joints You Need To Know About
10 Global Meatball Recipes for National Meatball Day
10 Recipes For National Meatball Day

Love,
A

Dear ‘Food, Inc.’

Does the chicken come first, or the egg? When the poor bird is suffocated under its own unhealthy weight and sinking in a kiddy pool of its own dung, does it matter?

I’ve seen Robert Kenner’s Oscar-nominated doc Food, Inc. twice now. A third opportunity presented itself, but I was called away to the burdens of wage-making. Still, because it was briefly on the George Fox University campus radar, I felt it important to remind others of crucial film.

Documentaries are, generally, biased. I know this to be true. I can’t even pretend to beat around that bush. But Kenner is not only a filmmaker; he’s hypnotist. I mean that as a sincere compliment. In an age where food is categorized by the “organics” and “non-organics”, audiences get to be the James Bonds for the food industry as we are taken into an in-depth – and utterly horrifying – look into how America’s food supply. On large, industrial farms for the masses of people, animals are cheated out of their living rights, between being pumped with hormones and injections to unsavory and spiteful deaths.

Watch the documentary for yourself. Words cannot describe most of these images.

I’m less interested in reporting the issues brought up in the movie. In a society of clever people, these are the kinds of topics we should be discussing with friends and families already. Robert Jenner’s film prods us into those questions, for the better.

I bring up this film, ultimately, because I am in love with food. Yeah, I’ll say it, and I’ll say it again: I am in love with food. My infatuation has blown up to the proportion where it can become painful, agonizing to think that I have to make daily decisions: the ethical food, or the tempting delicious ones?

Why not both? Call me idealistic, but I think we’re ready for a bit of progress. Are we not graced with a land to select local, ethically-selected foods, meat or meatless? I care for this film because it does not prescribe a serious habit change in our eating. In fact, the first image is of the muckraking author of Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser diving teeth-first into a juicy hamburger. The film promotes logical and ethical questions, and has shaped my life and my thinking for the better.

Are there any other docs you guys have seen that Dear Food should watch? Comment below, share with us the titles so that we can continue to spread the word.

Viva la Food!

– Rory Phillips

Dear Saturday brunch at The Southern,

Short rib hash from The Southern. Pick the best pieces from every meal and you have this glorious concoction. Photo/Dear Food

Short rib hash from The Southern. Pick the best pieces from every meal and you have this glorious concoction. Photo/Dear Food

Brunch is my favorite activity. I have a developed skill set for brunching on the weekends. I’ve seen it all, I expect it all. But nothing could have prepared me for this.

Many Chicagoans know about you, The Southern. Nestled in the hip and trendy Bucktown, you do all the food things that food people love to see: Fresh and local ingredients, high-quality craft brews and cocktails. You combine the best of southern living with a big city twist. So, I was ready for the wait. I was ready for the one-page brunch menu (because why not make a few things really well instead of 100 things mediocre?), but I was not ready to want every single item on that one-page menu.